24th June 2000: After a five-minute warm-up, we had powered our way directly into a Force 5/6 Westerly wind for 65 minutes. Our little Vire 7 had behaved well, but the idle speed had been set too low at the last tune-up. As we manouvered to come alongside the jetty, I put the engine into reverse without revving up, and it cut out just as the boat came to a dead stop - very convenent, since the crew (aged six and two) had both fallen asleep and I had to tie-up unaided.
The engine was left in reverse overnight. In retrospect, that might have contributed to the problem.
The following morning the engine was stuck firmly in reverse. I thought that there might be a problem with the remote linkage, so I disconnected it and applied pressure directly to the gearlever (Also known as the Coupling Rod - Part Number 14 in Figure 17). No joy. I didn't like to hit it too hard and there wasn't much room to swing a hammer behind the gearlever anyway, so we sailed back to base.
I dipped the oil and found the "milky" appearance classically associated with water in the oil. The reversing gearbox was removed and brought home to be dismantled. But before I could get time to do any more, I did a search of the Internet in anticipation of needing to source parts. Quite by chance, I came across Stuck Solid, the story of William Wood. Armed with that information, I did no further dismantling. Instead, I rested a block of wood against the near end of the cone clutch (Part Number 18 in Figure 18) and struck it once, hard, with a big hammer. Instant resolution !
Time then to find the underlying cause, which wasn't difficult. The shaft seal (Part Number 30 in Figure 18) was in bad shape. So what then was the complete story ?
So what lessons have I learned ?